From time to time I get emails or comments on our blog asking me how Scott convinced me to chuck it all in, get rid of most of our stuff, buy a sailboat, move onto a sailboat and go off adventuring without the security of a regular pay check coming in each month.
I imagine other people may be in the same situation. They have a dream to go off adventuring, but their partner isn’t too keen on the whole idea. It might go something like this:
"I really want to sell our house, buy an RV and travel around the States, but my wife worries about being so far away from the grand kids."Or like this:
"Can you imagine anything better than buying a sailboat and sailing to the Pacific Islands?! I know my girlfriend is afraid of the water, but what’s the problem? She can take swimming classes. It would be a once in a lifetime adventure!"Or even like this, because riding camels is a pretty awesome way to travel:
"Crossing the Saharan desert by camel would be so awesome. I don’t know why my fiancé doesn’t get it. Why can’t he see that working 60 hours a work until we retire isn’t the way we should spend our lives? We need to live life now while we're young enough to enjoy it and have our health."
In an ideal world, both partners would share the same dream and no one would need convincing (like this couple). But, that’s not always the case.
Oftentimes, it’s the bloke who has the dream to go off adventuring by RV, sailboat or even camel and is trying to convince his partner to come with. But not always. I’ve seen posts on some of the sailing and cruising Facebook groups I’m a part of from women wishing they could find men who share their dreams of sailing off into the sunset on a grand adventure.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter who’s convincing whom. What really matters is how to convince your reluctant partner. Because, after all, life is short and you want to get on with your adventuring.
Here’s the secret. Are you ready?
Don’t. Don’t do it.
Seriously, don’t even try to convince your partner to go adventuring. It could end up in disaster. You can inspire them. You can stir their imagination. You can arouse their interest. You can get them excited about the idea. But convincing them. Complete waste of time.
It might seem like semantics (and in a way I guess it is), but the idea of convincing someone to do something makes me think of reluctant cooperation, of being swayed to do something you don't really want to do or even brainwashed into thinking something is a good idea, when, in your heart, you know it isn't.
Even if you think you’ve convinced your partner to go off adventuring, they may secretly resent you and your stupid ideas and do something passive-aggressive in retaliation. Like putting walnuts in a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Honestly, the worst possible thing you can do to someone.
“Here honey, look what I made you. Chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven. Go on try one,” says your partner while smiling at you with innocent Bambi eyes. As you bite into one of the cookies eagerly, all of sudden you crunch down into a dreaded walnut and grimace.
“Oh my gosh, I completely forgot that you don’t like walnuts in your chocolate chip cookies! I’m so sorry. Guess I’ll have to eat them all myself. But, at least you have that sailboat that you always wanted. So, I guess it all kind of works out.”
I know that I joke around on our blog about how Scott brainwashed me into getting onboard with this whole cruising dream of his. But, like a lot of stuff on this blog, you really can’t take me too seriously. Except for bringing moas back from the dead. I’m completely serious about that.
So, here’s the dead honest truth. Scott didn’t brainwash me and he didn’t convince me. He just slowly seeded his ideas and his dreams and chipped away at my concerns and fears over time until one day I actually said, “Hey, why don’t we buy a boat.” Seriously, it was my idea to buy our first boat. I’m not sure who was more surprised, Scott or me.
I’ve probably told this story before, but for those of you who are new to the blog, here’s how it happened for us.
1 - Share your passion. Authentically.
Talk about why you want to go off adventuring. Not with the aim of selling your dream to your partner, but so that they can understand why you're passionate about it and why it's important to you. When you come from a place of authenticity, it's not about convincing your partner to do something, it's about helping them understand you better.
This is what Scott did. When he talked about sailing and cruising and tried to explain why he loved it so much, his eyes lit up and he just got so darn excited. Scott's a pretty stoic guy, so when he gets visibly excited about something, then you know that you should probably pay attention. So, I did. His passion started to be just a little bit contagious.
2 - Be honest about the downsides of the dream.
The last thing you want to do is suck somebody into your mad schemes under false pretenses. "You'll love sailing! You can read books and eat snacks while we're on the water. Then, we'll have tropical cocktails each night in beautiful anchorages. What could possibly go wrong?"
Well, I can tell you from personal experience that a lot can go wrong. If Scott had glossed over all of the downsides of sailing and cruising and I found out about them later after we had bought a boat, then I think things could haven gotten really ugly because I would have felt like I had been tricked somehow and that the dream I had bought into was really a sham.
Scott was really upfront about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of sailing and cruising. As a result, I felt a lot more prepared when we chartered for the first time (and things went horribly wrong) and later when we bought our first boat in New Zealand.
3 - Figure out their fears and concerns.
Scott knows me pretty well, after all, we've been married for a gazillion years, so he was pretty clued into what my fears and concerns might be, which are way too many to list here. One of the things he suggested I do to allay some of my fears was to read blogs by other folks who were just starting out cruising or who had been out there for a while. It helped. I realized that (a) other people worry about the same stuff that I do and (b) they made it work.
4 - Try before you buy.
We did two things that really made a difference for me. First, before taking the plunge and buying a boat, we did a couple of charters in New Zealand. That allowed me to get a tiny taste of what it might be like to cruise full-time. Fortunately, I liked it. Second, we bought a "starter" boat in New Zealand (this was my idea). It was a small, relatively inexpensive boat which we had for a couple of years, and cruised on full-time for a season.
For me, I think it would have been way too overwhelming to buy our "forever" boat first off the bat and it might have even turned me off of the whole thing. Instead, spending time on our "starter" boat got me excited thinking about how much better our next boat would be. By this time, I was fully hooked and it had become our dream.
5 - Go off adventuring!
This one's kind of self-explanatory. Once it becomes a shared dream, then go off and live it!
That’s how it worked for us. But, the cold, hard truth is that your partner may never get onboard with your dream to go off adventuring. It happens. And you have to be prepared for that. You might have to chuck your dream in or, better yet, adapt your dream.
For example, some partners don’t want to do ocean passages. So, the keen sailor might get some buddies to do long passages and their partner might fly over to join once they’re safely across the ocean. Or, a couple might downsize to a smaller place near the grand kids and split their time between RVing and their home base. Or, instead of taking a few years off the corporate merry-go-round to ride camels across the Saharan desert, a couple might decide to go backpacking in South America for a couple of months for an extended holiday.
What about you? Do you have a dream you're trying to get your partner onboard with? What ideas do you have for turning your personal dream into a shared dream?
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